A woman, publicly identified as Jane Doe, was followed home by a man after a liaison arranged by the dating site Match.com and is now suing the site.
The woman had two dates with a match made by the site. The first date was normal, but on the second date the man followed her home and forced her to perform a sexual act on him.
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The man was apparently a registered sex offender and the site currently does not check the criminal status of any of it’s users. The woman is suing for an injunction to prevent the site from allowing any further registrations of members until they institute a basic screening process to reveal and warn users of the sex offender status of potential matches.
Cnet news is reporting that the woman’s lawyer, Mark Webb has held a press conference and revealed that his client wants the site to use credit card information to check for sexual crimes, “When somebody uses their credit card to pay, [Match.com should] basically run the card through a sexual offender database”
Any revelations about the persons convictions regarding sexual assault would then be used to deny the person membership or force them to reveal it as part of their online profile.
According to Webb, the offender had a history of violent sexual assault which should have been revealed in the registration process, preventing the man from posting a profile in the first place.
He also stated that his client is not after money and just wants to prevent this from happening to others, “This horrific ordeal completely blindsided me because I had considered myself savvy about online dating safety,” she said in a statement read to reporters.
A lawyer from Match.com told ABC News that such a screening process was impossible for the site to implement, although he failed to give a detailed explanation why.
A separate criminal rape case against the man is now pending in the Los Angeles courts.
The story raises some interesting questions about exactly how far a dating site should go to screen potential members. The crime of rape is inexcusable but had the man been found guilty of simple assault, grand theft or some other crime that was not sexually oriented, would Match.com still deny him the ability to create a profile?
It’s an interesting question and one that could lead to wider ramifications for the responsibilities taken on by any site that requires a registration by payment and facilitates a personal interaction between two members.
We will continue to update this story as it develops.